Berkeley Lab

Managing election and post-election stress – A Message from Director Witherell

Dear colleagues,

2020 has disrupted our lives in a number of ways, and tonight’s election may provide an additional stressor. Nobody knows how this is going to play out, of course, but with the level of anxiety across the nation very high, many of us may bring another distraction to work with them in the coming days.

Human performance studies have shown that accidents increase on the day following a late-night event. That means Wednesday is particularly dangerous for workers who stay up late to follow the election returns Tuesday night, as many people will do. We want everyone at the Lab to go home safely every day, so please approach your tasks with extra care Wednesday and in the coming days. This is a good time to review safety procedures, even for those functions that you perform routinely, and allow yourself some extra time to complete tasks.

Beyond safety concerns, post-election stress will certainly impact people’s productivity and ability to focus. Please be aware that the people around you may be struggling emotionally as they try to process the additional uncertainty this election may cause. It is important to approach all conversations from a foundation of respect, recognizing that we are all on the same Berkeley Lab team.

Most important, please take care of yourself so you can continue to take care of the people around you. UC San Francisco’s Counseling and Psychological Services offers this Self-Care Kit with helpful tips for managing election-related stress.

I am especially proud of the culture of welcoming and belonging that we have developed at the Lab over the past few years. Together, our Lab community has been able to weather the year’s challenges, and I know we will continue to focus on the important work we are doing on behalf of the nation and humankind.

Best regards,